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(Voice of San Diego)   Southern California has too much water. Wait, what?   (voiceofsandiego.org) divider line
    More: Awkward, Credit rating agency, Water, Credit rating, San Diego County Water Authority, Standard & Poor's, Bond, Water supply, San Diego County residents  
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4075 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Sep 2021 at 5:31 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-09-27 5:34:59 PM  
Y'all want to send some of that back north then....?  our lakes have turned into ponds, but hey, at least the desert has some water for golfers
 
2021-09-27 5:36:07 PM  
A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??
 
2021-09-27 5:40:13 PM  
FTA: "The San Diego County Water Authority, which controls most of the region's water resources from the drought-stressed Colorado River ..."

Mother Nature isn't putting Colorado River water in San Diego County. Human engineering is responsible for that, which contributes to the water shortage where the Colorado River actually flows.
 
2021-09-27 5:43:01 PM  

bughunter: A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??


The new water supplier is more costly and the utility has fixed (and often increasing) infrastructure costs. So likely both the billed water usage amount will increase as will the meter connection rate.

Same has been happening with our water supplier in northern LA. We are up to $28/mo meter rate and $4.00/ccf water rate with tiered rates for excessive usage.
 
2021-09-27 5:43:25 PM  

bughunter: A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??


Well somebody has to pay for all the Studies and audits.
 
2021-09-27 5:46:38 PM  

bughunter: A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??


Welcome to a world where adding capacity involves building large, complex, high-cost production facilities and the high capital cost gets passed on to the consumer, rather than the world of Adam Smith where anonymous labourers from a giant pool could be added frictionlessly one at a time to small pin-making shops.
 
2021-09-27 5:48:44 PM  
I used to live down in San Diego. It's like California's Texas. There's a really ugly conservative streak thru the place, and the "public" utilities reflect it. The whole utility ecosystem with its supposedly natural monopolies is corrupt as a motherf*cker - cousins, ex-military buddies, etc, and SDG&E already has the highest cost per KWh in the entire country - including Alaska and Hawaii. It stands to reason they'd do the same thing to water service. Buncha goddamn crooks down there.
 
2021-09-27 5:51:33 PM  
It's not a desert like the Sahara Desert you stupid redneck geeks.
 
2021-09-27 5:54:19 PM  
Everything west of the rockies is unsustainable. Even without corporations and almond farms, there are too many people for what rainfall they get annually. Once those aquifers are drained, it's... going to be bad.
 
2021-09-27 5:54:28 PM  
That feels a little misleading.

(Disclosure: I work at a water district in the SF Bay Area.)

A small part of Southern California has spent money on enough backup water supplies to be well covered during a dry year.That's expensive.It only proves to be a good idea during a major drought when you might be unable to deliver water to all your customers' taps.The rest of the time, it's an "unnecessary" expense.

I'd argue that it's still a good idea, and high prices are going to be the natural consequence of an increasingly unstable supply.

San Diego gets 17% of its water from the State Water Project, which sends Sierra Nevada meltwater from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system to quite a lot of the state.My district gets 40% of our water from there.In 2015, the state told us that there was so little water to give out that we might get 0% of our allotment.It didn't turn out to be that bad; we got 15% (of our regular total supply, vs. the 40% usual).Our other external source was partially down, too, so we had to overdraw our groundwater a little and count on significant conservation by our customers.That conservation meant everyone's taps were still flowing at normal pressure, but it also cut our revenue by 20-25% when we were spending more than usual because of how crazy everything was.So we're in the same boat - spending a ton of money to guarantee future supply while people are buying less water because we asked them to, but we need at least as much revenue as before so we had to jack up our rates.It does not feel good.In retrospect, though, these last several decades we've just been winging it and that isn't good enough as dry periods become more frequent.
 
2021-09-27 6:00:48 PM  

Stephen_Falken: I used to live down in San Diego. It's like California's Texas. There's a really ugly conservative streak thru the place, and the "public" utilities reflect it. The whole utility ecosystem with its supposedly natural monopolies is corrupt as a motherf*cker - cousins, ex-military buddies, etc, and SDG&E already has the highest cost per KWh in the entire country - including Alaska and Hawaii. It stands to reason they'd do the same thing to water service. Buncha goddamn crooks down there.


I used to live there, too.  Did not expect how redneck it was.  So, after 14 years, I decided if I'm going to be stuck with rednecks, may as well move back to Oklahoma for a while to save some money.
 
2021-09-27 6:01:02 PM  
Well, there is an infinite supply of water just sitting there.  It's called an ocean.

However, you have to desalt it to make it drinkable, and that ain't cheap.

SoCal will never run out of water.  It might run out of cheap water, though.
 
2021-09-27 6:06:55 PM  

Geotpf: Well, there is an infinite supply of water just sitting there.  It's called an ocean.

However, you have to desalt it to make it drinkable, and that ain't cheap.

SoCal will never run out of water.  It might run out of cheap water, though.


The extra-salinated discharge is also bad for the ocean.  We've already lost most of the kelp forests off the California coast for various reasons; heavy use of desalination won't help.  That'll become a relatively larger problem as solar power makes electricity cheaper.  (Not saying desal is only expensive because of power - you go through a lot of reverse osmosis membranes too - but it's a major factor.)

The fishing industry already complains that we don't let enough river water flow into the ocean.  They'll probably lead the movement to limit desalination or otherwise keep it expensive.
 
2021-09-27 6:07:34 PM  
This highlights how insanely stupid and unsustainable the current model of "bond out every project" really is. These utilities should be using sinking funds to set up for future projects not waiting until it's "do or die" and then borrowing *65%* of the cost. And they just keep cycling that for future projects. It makes everything they do more expensive. Borrowing isn't free. It's insanely expensive when you take out a 10-30 year bond and consider the effect of compound interest.

A 30-year bond at 5% amortizes out to $932.56 in interest paid per $1000 originally borrowed.

It's NUTS.
 
2021-09-27 6:14:49 PM  
Well you don't want people drinking tainted tap water. Hoard as much of the clean stuff as you can
 
2021-09-27 6:15:04 PM  

r0rw: Everything west of the rockies is unsustainable. Even without corporations and almond farms, there are too many people for what rainfall they get annually. Once those aquifers are drained, it's... going to be bad.


You realize not the entire west is the desert, right?
 
2021-09-27 6:17:40 PM  
This happened in Spokane when I was living there. The city went on a big water conservation publicity campaign that was so successful, the water department was going broke. So they rewarded our conservation efforts by raising rates. What makes it another level of stupid is that there was no shortage of water whatsoever to begin with. The Spokane-Rathdrum aquifer is fed by drainage from a huge geographic area. Even in drought conditions, there's enough water for dozens of Spokane sized cities.
 
2021-09-27 6:17:46 PM  
If you have a idea about how to desalinate sea water cheaply and with minimal waist, you may have a billion $ idea on your hands.
 
2021-09-27 6:19:07 PM  

bughunter: A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??


Infrastructure doesn't pay for itself, unfortunately. Where I am they kept rates so low and didn't plan for e erything that needed to get fixed, so we just got a huge "replacement" fee added to our bill.
 
2021-09-27 6:25:01 PM  

Gyrfalcon: It's not a desert like the Sahara Desert you stupid redneck geeks.


In fact, it's not a desert at all.  Coastal Southern California is Chaparral.
Non-irrigated native areas don't look like this:
render.fineartamerica.comView Full Size



They look like this:
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-09-27 6:36:13 PM  

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: Gyrfalcon: It's not a desert like the Sahara Desert you stupid redneck geeks.

In fact, it's not a desert at all.  Coastal Southern California is Chaparral.
Non-irrigated native areas don't look like this:
[render.fineartamerica.com image 534x400]


They look like this:
[Fark user image 513x308]


Until it doesn't rain for a week, and then it looks like this:

patch.comView Full Size


It's still functionally a desert. You could cover the hills in Ohio and Michigan with literal Napalm and it wouldn't catch fire and we only get twice the rain SoCal gets.
 
2021-09-27 6:41:34 PM  
"Go f*ck yourself, San Diego."

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-09-27 6:45:00 PM  
I wonder how much of that water they drink has passed through a whale's vagina.
 
2021-09-27 6:47:20 PM  
Amortization of fixed costs, how does it work?
 
2021-09-27 6:47:40 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: It's still functionally a desert. You could cover the hills in Ohio and Michigan with literal Napalm and it wouldn't catch fire and we only get twice the rain SoCal gets


That's because even fire is not interested in being anywhere near Ohio or Michigan.
 
2021-09-27 6:50:40 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: Gyrfalcon: It's not a desert like the Sahara Desert you stupid redneck geeks.

In fact, it's not a desert at all.  Coastal Southern California is Chaparral.
Non-irrigated native areas don't look like this:
[render.fineartamerica.com image 534x400]


They look like this:
[Fark user image 513x308]

Until it doesn't rain for a week, and then it looks like this:

[patch.com image 850x637]

It's still functionally a desert. You could cover the hills in Ohio and Michigan with literal Napalm and it wouldn't catch fire and we only get twice the rain SoCal gets.


It's not "functionally a desert".  It doesn't not meet the criteria for desert.  It's functionally, and in every other way, chaparral.  The qualification for "desert" is not "anywhere but Ohio or Michigan".
 
2021-09-27 6:55:26 PM  
Chaparral country generally doesn't get a drop of rain between May and October, making it at best a semi-desert.

Marc Reisner said it best in the classic water book "Cadillac Desert" : it is a semi-desert with a desert heart.
 
2021-09-27 6:56:28 PM  

CordycepsInYourBrain: This happened in Spokane when I was living there. The city went on a big water conservation publicity campaign that was so successful, the water department was going broke. So they rewarded our conservation efforts by raising rates. What makes it another level of stupid is that there was no shortage of water whatsoever to begin with. The Spokane-Rathdrum aquifer is fed by drainage from a huge geographic area. Even in drought conditions, there's enough water for dozens of Spokane sized cities.


I hate to tell you this, but the goal of water conservation projects is not saving you a couple bucks, month to month, on your utilities
 
2021-09-27 6:56:53 PM  
Having been born and raised on a Southern California desert, I am getting a dry kick out of these replies.
 
2021-09-27 6:57:20 PM  

TrevorSmith: This highlights how insanely stupid and unsustainable the current model of "bond out every project" really is. These utilities should be using sinking funds to set up for future projects not waiting until it's "do or die" and then borrowing *65%* of the cost. And they just keep cycling that for future projects. It makes everything they do more expensive. Borrowing isn't free. It's insanely expensive when you take out a 10-30 year bond and consider the effect of compound interest.

A 30-year bond at 5% amortizes out to $932.56 in interest paid per $1000 originally borrowed.

It's NUTS.


But what's the present value of those payments? The interest rates on municipal bonds tend to be low enough relative to the discount rate that the benefit over the lifetime of the project far exceeds the present value of payments.
 
2021-09-27 6:59:07 PM  

clawsoon: bughunter: A drop in demand and an increase in supply mean higher prices?

Wut??

Welcome to a world where adding capacity involves building large, complex, high-cost production facilities and the high capital cost gets passed on to the consumer, rather than the world of Adam Smith where anonymous labourers from a giant pool could be added frictionlessly one at a time to small pin-making shops.


Yup. Infrastructure is not a widget factory in a fully efficient market.
 
2021-09-27 7:00:49 PM  

Stephen_Falken: I used to live down in San Diego. It's like California's Texas. There's a really ugly conservative streak thru the place, and the "public" utilities reflect it. The whole utility ecosystem with its supposedly natural monopolies is corrupt as a motherf*cker - cousins, ex-military buddies, etc, and SDG&E already has the highest cost per KWh in the entire country - including Alaska and Hawaii. It stands to reason they'd do the same thing to water service. Buncha goddamn crooks down there.


You're not wrong about much of that, but the energy situation here is much improved. Sdge has changed their attitude somewhat, and with San Diego CCA coming online there are options.

The utilities here are not more evil than most places, and less evil than some.
 
2021-09-27 7:01:48 PM  

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: It's not "functionally a desert".  It doesn't not meet the criteria for desert.  It's functionally, and in every other way, chaparral.  The qualification for "desert" is not "anywhere but Ohio or Michigan".


I would classify anywhere that an errant spark would burn down half the county as "desert". Being pedantic and calling it "chaparral" doesn't change the fact that you can't even have a campfire with smores lest you burn down the remaining three hills in SoCal that aren't charred to fark and back.
 
2021-09-27 7:04:42 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: It's not "functionally a desert".  It doesn't not meet the criteria for desert.  It's functionally, and in every other way, chaparral.  The qualification for "desert" is not "anywhere but Ohio or Michigan".

I would classify anywhere that an errant spark would burn down half the county as "desert". Being pedantic and calling it "chaparral" doesn't change the fact that you can't even have a campfire with smores lest you burn down the remaining three hills in SoCal that aren't charred to fark and back.


Then let's just call anything, anything. I am getting this point across as I type on my salamander.
 
2021-09-27 7:19:02 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: It's not "functionally a desert".  It doesn't not meet the criteria for desert.  It's functionally, and in every other way, chaparral.  The qualification for "desert" is not "anywhere but Ohio or Michigan".

I would classify anywhere that an errant spark would burn down half the county as "desert". Being pedantic and calling it "chaparral" doesn't change the fact that you can't even have a campfire with smores lest you burn down the remaining three hills in SoCal that aren't charred to fark and back.


You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it
 
2021-09-27 7:19:46 PM  

r0rw: Everything west of the rockies is unsustainable. Even without corporations and almond farms, there are too many people for what rainfall they get annually. Once those aquifers are drained, it's... going to be bad.


Our farming in a large part of the Mid-West is probably unsustainable too, although the trouble is a bit farther down the line.

http://duwaterlawreview.com/crisis-on​-​the-high-plains-the-loss-of-americas-l​argest-aquifer-the-ogallala/
 
2021-09-27 7:25:14 PM  

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it


And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.
 
2021-09-27 7:32:16 PM  
The desalination thing really interests me, especially what to do with the waste by products.

Surely there is some application that the waste could be used for right?

Can salt be used to produce energy?
 
2021-09-27 7:32:58 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.


What's funny is that even gun-humpers don't care if it's called a clip or a magazine.  They just go with it because they understand.  Usually us pedantic liberals who care most.
 
2021-09-27 7:33:12 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.


I also see a lot of wildfires.
Fark user imageView Full Size

Because I live in the world's largest temperate rainforest, er... desert. I guess.
 
2021-09-27 7:36:17 PM  

Captain Shaky: 137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.

I also see a lot of wildfires.
[Fark user image 425x381]
Because I live in the world's largest temperate rainforest, er... desert. I guess.


There were forest fires in the Olympic peninsula? Missed that. I thought they were all out on the other side of the Cascades.
 
2021-09-27 7:43:42 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Captain Shaky: 137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.

I also see a lot of wildfires.
[Fark user image 425x381]
Because I live in the world's largest temperate rainforest, er... desert. I guess.

There were forest fires in the Olympic peninsula? Missed that. I thought they were all out on the other side of the Cascades.


I'm nearby Portland, and hoping the rains we are getting this week will finally "wash" off all the ashfall off my car from the other week (that I've been too lazy to do myself).
 
2021-09-27 7:44:56 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.


Insisting on correct terminology is pedantic; insisting on incorrect terminology, however, is downright idiotic. Purposely using incorrect terms is disingenuous, and a well known bullshiat debate tactic intended to give the user an "out" when they say something senseless or outright false.
"You know what I meant..."
Well, we would have, if you hadn't said something different than what you meant.
 
2021-09-27 8:11:43 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.


I'm not arguing with you.  It's just you and others are using the word wrong.  I'm pointing it out.  There's nothing to argue about. You can be wrong if you want.  I don't care.
 
2021-09-27 8:11:50 PM  

TheJoe03: r0rw: Everything west of the rockies is unsustainable. Even without corporations and almond farms, there are too many people for what rainfall they get annually. Once those aquifers are drained, it's... going to be bad.

You realize not the entire west is the desert, right?


Yes, but even those parts are so overpopulated they can't keep up with how fast the water table replenishes. I mean, don't @ me with some township that's netural, I'm talking on a state level. Cali is by far the worst ignoring the actual desert regions but Oregon and Washington have issues too.
 
2021-09-27 8:21:54 PM  

Plato's Salty Discharge: The desalination thing really interests me, especially what to do with the waste by products.

Surely there is some application that the waste could be used for right?

Can salt be used to produce energy?


/Name checks out
 
2021-09-27 8:33:03 PM  

carlisimo: That feels a little misleading.

(Disclosure: I work at a water district in the SF Bay Area.)

A small part of Southern California has spent money on enough backup water supplies to be well covered during a dry year.That's expensive.It only proves to be a good idea during a major drought when you might be unable to deliver water to all your customers' taps.The rest of the time, it's an "unnecessary" expense.

I'd argue that it's still a good idea, and high prices are going to be the natural consequence of an increasingly unstable supply.

San Diego gets 17% of its water from the State Water Project, which sends Sierra Nevada meltwater from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system to quite a lot of the state.My district gets 40% of our water from there.In 2015, the state told us that there was so little water to give out that we might get 0% of our allotment.It didn't turn out to be that bad; we got 15% (of our regular total supply, vs. the 40% usual).Our other external source was partially down, too, so we had to overdraw our groundwater a little and count on significant conservation by our customers.That conservation meant everyone's taps were still flowing at normal pressure, but it also cut our revenue by 20-25% when we were spending more than usual because of how crazy everything was.So we're in the same boat - spending a ton of money to guarantee future supply while people are buying less water because we asked them to, but we need at least as much revenue as before so we had to jack up our rates.It does not feel good.In retrospect, though, these last several decades we've just been winging it and that isn't good enough as dry periods become more frequent.


from reading the article, it also sounds like they (you?) are switching from financing most of the infrastructure upgrade costs through majority debt, whete they can amortize the costs over decades, to cash up front, where you suffer a larger portion of the costs now.

This is weird to me because it's not like the water wont eventually be used, you'd figure they would just amortize the construction and expected mainenance costs over a longer period of time, and maybe increase cost slightly to make sure they were ahead of the payments.

/IANA accountant
//just picked a few things here and there from people who are
 
2021-09-27 9:21:45 PM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Captain Shaky: 137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: You can classify it anyway you like as long as you're OK with being wrong. It's a strange hill to die on but if it's important to you, go for it

And a clip isn't a mag, right? God, you sound like a gun humper with your complete inability to see colloquialisms instead of pedantry.

I also see a lot of wildfires.
[Fark user image 425x381]
Because I live in the world's largest temperate rainforest, er... desert. I guess.

There were forest fires in the Olympic peninsula? Missed that. I thought they were all out on the other side of the Cascades.


Yes, there was. A lotta green foliage burns well in 100° weeks. But it'll be green again now that the rains have started. Gray's Harbor misses being 'temperate rain forest by that much.

/ I farkied you, Captain Shaky, as 'pnw' in a nice shade of grey
// Stay wierd
 
2021-09-28 12:16:01 AM  

Mechanicum: CordycepsInYourBrain: This happened in Spokane when I was living there. The city went on a big water conservation publicity campaign that was so successful, the water department was going broke. So they rewarded our conservation efforts by raising rates. What makes it another level of stupid is that there was no shortage of water whatsoever to begin with. The Spokane-Rathdrum aquifer is fed by drainage from a huge geographic area. Even in drought conditions, there's enough water for dozens of Spokane sized cities.

I hate to tell you this, but the goal of water conservation projects is not saving you a couple bucks, month to month, on your utilities


What is the point of conserving water in a place where it is not scarce? It doesn't make it magically appear in places that don't have enough water. Utterly pointless.
 
2021-09-28 12:31:56 AM  

137 Is An Excellent Time: Louisiana_Sitar_Club: It's not "functionally a desert".  It doesn't not meet the criteria for desert.  It's functionally, and in every other way, chaparral.  The qualification for "desert" is not "anywhere but Ohio or Michigan".

I would classify anywhere that an errant spark would burn down half the county as "desert". Being pedantic and calling it "chaparral" doesn't change the fact that you can't even have a campfire with smores lest you burn down the remaining three hills in SoCal that aren't charred to fark and back.


I think the terms you're looking for are "arid" or "semi-arid".  Pedantry or not, deserts have specific definitions in terms of annual rainfall, and most of the southwest doesn't fall in that criteria.

That being said, those on the other side that insist on defining "deserts" with pics of Monument Valley should remember that Antarctica is, in fact, a desert.
 
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